Synthetic toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR7 ligands work additively via Myd88 to induce protective antiviral immunity in mice

Peter H. Goff, Tomoko Hayashi, Wenqian He, Shiyin Yao, Howard B. Cottam, Gene S. Tan, Brian Crain, Florian Krammer, Karen Messer, Minya Pu, Dennis A. Carson, Peter Palese, Maripat Corr

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24 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated that the combination of synthetic smallmolecule Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR7 ligands is a potent adjuvant for recombinant influenza virus hemagglutinin, inducing rapid and sustained immunity that is protective against influenza viruses in homologous, heterologous, and heterosubtypic murine challenge models. Combining the TLR4 and TLR7 ligands balances Th1 and Th2- type immune responses for long-lived cellular and neutralizing humoral immunity against the viral hemagglutinin. Here, we demonstrate that the protective response induced in mice by this combined adjuvant is dependent upon TLR4 and TLR7 signaling via myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), indicating that the adjuvants function in vivo via their known receptors, with negligible off-target effects, to induce protective immunity. The combined adjuvant acts via MyD88 in both bone marrow-derived and non-bone marrow-derived radioresistant cells to induce hemagglutinin-specific antibodies and protect mice against influenza virus challenge. The protective efficacy generated by immunization with this adjuvant and recombinant hemagglutinin antigen is transferable with serum from immunized mice to recipient mice in a homologous, but not a heterologous, H1N1 viral challenge model. Depletion of CD4+ cells after an established humoral response in immunized mice does not impair protection from a homologous challenge; however, it does significantly impair recovery from a heterologous challenge virus, highlighting an important role for vaccine-induced CD4+ cells in crossprotective vaccine efficacy. The combination of the two TLR agonists allows for significant dose reductions of each component to achieve a level of protection equivalent to that afforded by either single agent at its full dose.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01050-17
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Adjuvant
  • Influenza virus
  • TLR4
  • TLR7
  • Toll-like receptor
  • vaccine


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